A new clue in the hunt for the missing Fabergé Nécessaire Egg
A new clue has emerged in the hunt for a missing Imperial Russian treasure – a Fabergé Easter Egg. The clue has been revealed in an old photograph that was posted online and for the first time shows a clear image of the lost Nécessaire Egg of 1889.
The photograph was found and the Fabergé Egg identified by an amateur British researcher named Kellie Bond. Kellie came across the image one evening after putting her children to bed and scrolling through images on the internet. The shot shows a group of Russian treasures, including on the left the missing Imperial Fabergé Egg. In the centre is an Imperial gold chalice of 1791 commissioned by Catherine the Great Empress of Russia.
Fabergé’s jewelled Imperial Easter Eggs are masterpieces of the goldsmith’s art; relics of a vanished Empire where craftsmanship flourished under the very highest levels of patronage. The Imperial Russian goldsmith Carl Fabergé was commissioned by Emperor Alexander III to supply an Easter Egg every year as a gift for his consort Marie Feodorovna. After his death the tradition was continued by his son Emperor Nicholas II. Fabergé was then required to make two Eggs every year, one as a gift for his mother the dowager Empress Marie and another for his consort Alexandra Feodorovna. The Imperial Easter Eggs were Fabergé’s most important and demanding commissions. They are a combination of peerless craftsmanship and inventive design.
By the time of the Russian Revolution Fabergé had delivered fifty of these remarkable objects. Seven of the Eggs are now missing, of this number only two are known to have survived the Russian revolution. The Nécessaire egg is one of the two surviving eggs. It was commissioned by Alexander III as a gift for for Empress Marie Feodorovna for Easter 1889. A later description records it as,
Emperor & Autocrat of all the Russias Alexander III
In 1917 as German forces threatened St. Petersburg, the new Provisional Russian Government seized the Imperial Family’s treasures and transported them to the Moscow Kremlin for safekeeping, among the items taken was the Nécessaire egg,
It was later sold by the Bolsheviks to raise foreign currency for their industrialisation programs and acquired by Wartski in London. We exhibited the Egg at the first ever Western exhibition devoted to Fabergé’s work at our Regent Street premises in November 1949. Three years later on the 19th June 1952, we sold it to a buyer identified in our ledgers only as ‘A Stranger’ for £1250.
The egg’s last known location was Wartski and it is hoped the discovery of this photograph will alert a stranger to their ownership of the lost treasure.